Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) targeted the leadership of her party–House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-LA)—who, according to reports, recorded robocalls on behalf of some Democrats prior to the election, backing Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and possibly helping him to victory in a close Texas runoff this week.
“On the day of a mass shooting and weeks after news of Roe, Democratic Party leadership rallied for a pro-NRA, anti-choice incumbent under investigation in a close primary. Robocalls, fundraisers, all of it,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet. “Accountability isn't partisan. This was an utter failure of leadership.”
In his victory announcement on Tuesday night, Cuellar expressed his gratitude to Clyburn “for his steadfast support.” At the time of writing, his opponent, Jessica Cisneros, had not conceded, with 95 percent of the vote in, losing 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent, as per The New York Times. But the race was still too close to call, according to other major media outlets.
Clyburn has actually been a major contributor in support of other candidates competing in far-left contests and in opposition to Republicans. Clyburn, specifically, has been a major help to Democrats in their fight against liberal as well as Republican opponents. When he was a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, he was a renowned force in securing his supporters to win the Black votes in the South and helped propel current President Joe Biden to victory over progressive Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Later, he supported the incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) in her bid to defeat Sanders’ allies as well as the progressive Nina Turner in the special election in the 11th District. Brown defeated Turner twice in the 2021 special election and then again in the Democratic primary earlier in the month.
Democrat strategist and Clyburn advisor Antjuan Seawright said that the Left “can't have it both ways” and “this has not been the first time the progressives have been upset because people decided to make their decisions about who they support… I don't think they get to decide what to be upset about because in the same way they feel like they're upset about the speaker and the whip's intervention, the speaker and the whip could be upset about their intervention,” Seawright told the Hill. Seawright was also critical of Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement of Turner in the past year, when she ran for office against Brown.
“With a margin this small, it's clear that a pro-choice, anti-NRA Democrat could have easily won if it wasn't for the full-throated support of Pelosi and the party establishment in Washington for anti-choice, pro-NRA Henry Cuellar,” Waleed Shahid, who is the communications director for Justice Democrats, explained to the Hill.
Sawyer Hackett, a senior communications strategist for another far-left group called The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, claimed that moderate members such as Cuellar have a tendency to align themselves with groups of special interests rather than their constituents. “They aligned themselves with AIPAC, Big Oil, gun manufacturers, and the Koch brothers to support a man who consistently undermines our party and sent a signal to voters that incumbency is more important than Democratic values.”
The Associated Press also noted that this race may “offer clues” into how abortion rights will impact the midterm election. Cuellar has been under fire over the past few weeks as organizations for abortion rights have been pouring money and resources on the ground as well as on the radio waves. This is because of Cuellar’s being among the few pro-life Democrats still in Congress. His opponent in the race, Jessica Cisneros, is pro-abortion.
To further investigate the anger from the Left, the director-general of Our Revolution, Joseph Geevarghese, said that newly elected Democrats have been averse to working families. “Democratic leadership and countless corporate interests poured endless fundraising support into the incumbent's campaign to fit their uninspiring, anti-progress mold,” Geevarghese stated to the Hill. “It's time for Washington to wake up and recognize that working families want a progressive agenda.”